Oneida County Emergency Management pre-plans for a disaster
Story By Shardaa Gray
Photos By Shardaa Gray
RHINELANDER - Natural disasters don't happen often in the Northwoods.
But Oneida County Emergency Management needs to make sure their fire departments know what to do if it does.
Oneida County Airport wasn't just for planes this weekend.
Fire departments and more than 40 firefighters trained for a natural disaster Saturday morning.
They practice every other month, but nothing like this.
"This is the first time we actually incorporated MABAS, our Mutual Aid Box Alarm System into a water shuttle drill." said Oneida County Emergency Management director, Ken Kortenhof.
MABAS is a system that Wisconsin adopted in 2006.
"Basically what that does, we pre-plan them ahead of time and they don't have to worry about deciding at the time which units to call and where they're coming from," Kortenhof said.
"It's a good system and it works well with the fire service."
Five different stations set up on the airports runway.
First stop was checking in.
The second station was incident command post.
"Right now they're directing the different tanker trucks and different tender trucks where to go and how to shuttle water." said Kortenhof.
After that it's off to the lake to fill the tankers.
Each truck can hold about one thousand gallons of water.
Then they have to find a place to put the extra water.
"When we're at a fire or something, we have what's called drop tanks. The tenders come in and they fill those drop tanks up and then those drop tanks feed the engines. The engines spray on to the fire." Kortenhof said.
Firefighters say the training helps departments communicate better.
"We have a number of different departments that specifically don't work together," Kortenhof said.
"The MABAS system and exercises like this give them the ability to work together and to practice what they're doing. So in the event they have to in real life, it goes a lot smoother."
A smoother response could save lives during a disaster.
VILAS COUNTY - Earlier this month, legislators put a proposal into the state budget that would take away a county's ability to make its own shoreline zoning regulations. Here in the Northwoods, two counties have come out against that proposal.
If the state budget went through as it's written right now, individual counties and lake associations could lose their power to set zoning regulations. That's a big issue for many in the Northwoods. Vilas County alone has 1,300 lakes. The proposal has caused great concerns.
"The concern was that the proposal had the potential for doing great damage to the environment, had the potential for causing a severe problem as far as assessment procedures, and generally was opposed by the citizens-the residents-of this county," said Chuck Hayes, a Vilas County supervisor.
Vilas and Oneida counties both held board meetings last week. Both counties voted to ask for removal of zoning changes from the budget. They argue the issue of shoreline zoning was never given any time to be discussed.
"At the very least, I think the public should have had a chance to weigh in on this issue that affects the environment," said Hayes. "The counties, the municipalities and individual residents, their opinion wasn't sought on this. It was simply put in."
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander group wants to protect an endangered butterfly. The Monarch March works to save the beautiful monarch butterflies.
The butterfly is in danger because people remove milkweed from their yards. Milkweed is also removed from public ground spaces as well.
Monarchs need milkweed for food and a place to lay their eggs.
"That's the problem with the monarch; it only survives on milkweed," said Paula Larson, founder of Monarch March. "So every time you cut down milkweed, every time the highway mows down all the milkweed on the sides of the roads, they are killing hundreds of caterpillars."
A major part of the work done by Monarch March is to collect eggs and raise them until they become butterflies. The process takes about four to five weeks.
Leaders of the group believe everyone can do simple things to protect the butterflies.
"Do not cut down milkweed; plant milkweed. It's really good for gardens to become a butterfly habitat," said Larson.
The new butterflies should hatch in about two weeks. An exhibit with the caterpillars can be seen at Curran Professional Park in Rhinelander.
For more information, check out Monarch March on Facebook.
COLUMBUS, OH - A 4-year-old girl who was shot in the leg by an Ohio policeman firing at a dog is recovering after surgery as her family questions how the officer responded.
Columbus police say Ava Ellis was hit accidentally June 19 when an officer fired at a charging dog at a home in suburban Whitehall. Police say another relative had flagged down the officer for help after Ava's mother cut herself on glass.
FERGUSON, MO - A Justice Department report summary has found across-the-board flaws in police's response last summer to the protests in Ferguson, including antagonizing crowds and violating free-speech rights.
The Associated Press obtained the summary, which cites "vague and arbitrary" orders to keep protesters moving that violated their rights of assembly and free speech.
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